This attractive town, just north of the Waimakariri River, was an important trading centre in the 1850s and 60s, when its waterways allowed cutters, schooners and paddle steamers to service the needs of the pioneering settlers. In earlier times, it was the site of the Ngai Tahu tribe’s largest settlement. The pa had an estimated population of over 5000 and was a centre for trading. Today the site appears as a green field covered in low mounds. Kaiapoi serves as a dormitory suburb for the city of Christchurch. It has an extensive shopping centre and a full range of services. Functional facts: Approx. population 7400, full range of shops and services, information centre.